We spent almost two months traveling through Indonesia, making our way from Northern Sumatra to Labuan Bajo in Flores. Along the way, we saw and experienced some of the “best of the best” Mother Nature had to offer. We loved our time in Indonesia. We loved it so much we created a list of 9 natural wonders not to miss in Indonesia! If you’re looking for a country that has beautiful beaches and coral reefs, incredible peaks and smoking volcanoes, look no further. Welcome to Indonesia.
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1) Lake Toba
Lake Toba is a massive naturally made lake that sits in the caldera of a super volcano. Yes, a super volcano!
Located in Northern Sumatra, Lake Toba is the largest lake in Indonesia and the largest volcanic lake …in the world! Lake Toba is 62 miles long (100km) and is surrounded by rolling hills and steep cliffs – which only add to the amazing scenery.
Rent a boat and enjoy the lake by water or rent a scooter and enjoy the lake by land. Either way, you’re in for a beautiful ride.
How Can I Get There? Fly into Medan and rent a shared taxi*. It takes a couple hours, BUT you can stop at Natural Wonders #2 on your way 🙂
*Not like the Taxi’s you hail in New York City. These are local people’s SUVs or vans that fit 6 to 8 people. You can reserve a ride through your accommodation in Medan.
2) Sipisopiso Waterfall
Sipisopisois a waterfall that will make you say “woooooah.” Located in the Batik highlands of Northern Sumatra, Sipisopiso Waterfall plunges water 360ft (120m) downward to the earth. Oh, and did we mention this waterfall is the tallest in Indonesia? Yeah, pretty incredible.
You can actually hike down to the base of it and get some pretty incredible photos…or a shower! Either way, be prepared to get wet.
How Can I Get There? Heading to Lake Toba? You should be after reading the above. Well Sipisopiso Waterfall makes a great stopping point on your way to Lake Toba. Catch a flight into Medan and book a shared taxi. In a few hours, you’ll be standing at the feet of this mighty giant.
3) Gunung Leuser National Park
Gunung Leuser National Park is a large national park (about 950,000 hectares) located in the northern most region of Sumatra. It is home to Orangutans, white and black gibbons, Thomas Leaf monkeys, handfuls of various bird, lizard and snake species.
If you are really REALLY lucky and up for a several day hike into the Jungle, you may run into the very rare Sumatran Tiger, Sumatran Rhinoceros or wild elephants. Excited? You should be. It’s a beautiful and wonderful (but hot) hike into the Indonesian jungles.
How Can I Get There? There are two main entrances to the park and both are accessible from Medan. The closer and more tourist heavy option of the two is Bukit Lawang. Bukit Lawang is only a few hours drive away from Medan.
The further and more remote entrance is located in the village of Ketambe. In Ketambe you may see wild Orangutans in their natural habitats swinging from the tippy top of the trees. We were among the lucky ones and saw four! In Bukit Lawang, you’re guaranteed to see the Orangutans you came to see as they live within a rehabilitation sanctuary.
4) Mount Sibayak
Located on the outskirts of the Northern Sumatran town of Berastagi you’ll find Mount Sibayak.
Mount Sibayak is an active Volcano that you can hike! We know, you’re thinking “You’re crazy! I’m not hiking an active volcano!” Pump the breaks. Mount Sibayak’s last eruption was more than a century ago.
The hike is a relatively easy climb and great to do for sunrise. If you want to cross “hike to the summit of an active volcano” off your bucket list, head to Berastagi and hike Mount Sibayak.
How Can I Get There? Again, another flight into Medan and hire a shared taxi. Berastagi is a few hours away. Stay the night and get to hiking in the morning!
5) Mount Bromo
Perched in the middle of the “Sea of Sand” within Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park in Java, you’ll find the majestic Mount Bromo.
Standing at 7,641ft (2,329m), Mount Bromo is one of the, if not the most iconic landmark in all of Indonesia. Known for its spectacular sunrise, Mount Bromo should be on everyones “must see” list for Indonesia.
While it is an active volcano and has had frequent eruptions in the last few years, you are able to hike to crater and peer down inside the smoking beauty. The views that surround Mount Bromo are just as spectacular as Mount Bromo itself.
Have we got you sold yet? If you are not sold, check out our trailer of Bromo here.
How Can I Get There? Short answer Fly into Yogjakarta then car or train. We wrote an epic guide that gives you all the details on how to get to Mount Bromo overland from Yogjakarta or Bali.
While Ijen is a volcano, that is not what it’s best known for. It’s known for its bright turquoise-colored acidic crater lake that lays in the middle of the caldera of Ijen.
Oh, and that bright turquoise-colored acidic crater lake is recognized as the highest acidic lake in the world. While visiting Ijen, you get a look into the life of local sulfur miners working day in and day out. Also, if you are lucky, you get to see “the blue fire” in the early hours of the morning. Interest peaked? It should be.
How Can I Get There? Like our answer to Mount Bromo above, we wrote a whole post on Ijen with all the details on how to get there and more detail than you’ll ever need to know about Ijen. Get that here.
7) Sekumpul Waterfall
In our humble opinion, the best waterfall in all of Bali is Sekumpul Waterfall.
Located close to the northern town of Munduk, Sekumpul Waterfall is a cluster of several waterfalls that cascade and breakthrough a lush jungle forest before plummeting to the waiting pool below. The waterfall is massive, standing at 262ft (80m).
Be sure to bring your swimming suit and take a dip in this jungle oasis.
How Can I Get There? Sekumpul Waterfall can be reached in a day from southern Bali. While it would be a looong day, it can be done. Our suggestion? Stay a night or two in Munduk and enjoy the quiet and beauty northern Bali has to offer.
8) Mount Rinjani
Located on the island of Lombok, Mount Rinjani is one bad-mama-jama. Standing mighty and tall at 12,224ft (3,726m), Rinjani is the second highest volcano in Indonesia and one hell of a doozy to climb.
It’s known for its sunrise hike and we’d be lying if we said it didn’t test you physically. However, that feeling of watching that sunrise over all of Lombok is a feeling that is indescribable. Plus, you feel pretty bad ass and so accomplished after you completed the climb 🙂
If you want a challenge that boasts unbelievable views, Mount Rinjani is your hike!
How Can I Get There? Head over to Lombok via boat from Bali or catch a flight in. Head north to the village of Senaru and that’s where you’ll find your entrance to the National Park of Taman National Gunung Rinjani.
Prior to getting to the park, you can look into booking a 2 or 3-day tour with local agents. Whether you’re on Bali, the Gili Islands or Lombok there are plenty of companies you can book with. Prices vary, so come prepared to haggle!
9) Komodo National Park
Oh Flores. What don’t we have to say about you? Does heavenly paradise even begin to describe you? Close but still not good enough. Spectacular, eye melting beauty that takes your breath away? Now, that’s more like it.
What park sits smack dab in the middle of this beauty you ask? Komodo National Park. Home to coral reefs and marine life that will blow your scuba diving flippers off in addition to viewpoints and pristine beaches, Komodo National Park and its surrounding areas is a treat for your eyes and your soul.
You can also find the infamous Komodo Dragons here, so be on lookout! You don’t want to get a bite from these gnarly dinosaur looking creatures.
How Can I Get There? Day trips as well as overnight cruises from Labuan Bajo make getting to Komodo National Park incredibly accessible. Catch a flight into Labuan Bajo and book a tour from one of the operators in town.
See, what’d did we tell you?! Indonesia is a country full of extraordinary beauty and unforgettable experiences just waiting for you. This list is just our top picks from Indonesia.
There is so much more waiting to be discovered!
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– Lauren & Jesse Stuart (The Stüs)